“Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine as lights in the world as you hold forth the word of life…”
Paul, The Apostle of Grace
This post is a continuation of my previous teachings through the book of Philippians.
In Philippians 2:14-16, Paul continues to encourage the believers in Philippi to let go of complaining about and arguing with each other so they can effectively shine the light of Jesus into the dark world by holding out the word of life to the dead world.
The word of life is the good news of God’s grace freely, fully, and forever given to us through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus.
It was Paul’s desire the believers in Philippi would have a good reputation among the unbelievers in their city so they could reach the lost.
Paul wanted them to be “blameless and pure, without fault” among the unbelievers in the city of Philippi.
Paul knew if the believers in Philippi continued to complain about and argue with each other, they would be ineffective in reaching the unbelievers in their city because they would be disrespected by them.
Only by having a good reputation could they reach the lost in their city.
The lost in the city of Philippi were a part of a crooked and perverse generation.
The world’s condition presented a great opportunity for the believers to shine the light of Jesus into the dark world by holding out the word of life to the dead world.
The Bible says the people of the world are spiritually dead, the absence of life - separated from the life of God in Christ.
The Bible says the people of the world are spiritually dark, the absence of light - separated from the truth of God in Christ.
Consequently, they live lives that are crooked and perverse...without morals and values, without meaning and purpose...without direction...without hope.
It was into this immoral, hopeless generation of spiritual darkness and deadness that Paul was encouraging the believers to shine the light of Jesus by holding out the word of life about him...his life, death, burial, resurrection, and return...his grace.
Jesus is the perfect example of how to live in a crooked and perverse generation.
He didn’t come to condemn the world but to save the world.
He loved the crooked and perverse people of his generation...the prostitutes and tax collectors...the “sinners” as they were labeled by the Pharisees.
He was full of grace to them...shining the light of God’s love and kindness into the darkness of their lives.
In their darkness, they noticed the light of God’s love and grace shining brightly through Jesus, bringing life to their dead existence.
They came to him...out of their darkness and in their deadness they came and discovered the truth about God...about Jesus...about life...and they crossed over from darkness to light, from death to life.
The Philippian church had a great opportunity to shine the light of Jesus into the dark, dead lives of the Philippian people by holding out the word of life...the life, death, burial, resurrection, and return of Jesus...his grace!
Like the Philippian church, we have the same opportunity to shine the light of Jesus into the dark, dead world by holding out the word of life to people.
We are ambassadors of Jesus to the world.
As ambassadors of Jesus, we are not in the world to condemn the world, but to share with the world the saving message of God’s grace.
We are in the world to communicate to the dark and dead people of the world the greatest message ever:
“...that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s trespasses against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. As God’s fellow workers, we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain [hear about God’s grace, but not combine with faith in Jesus]. For He says: ‘In the time of favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ Behold, now is the time of favor; now is the day of salvation!” (2 Corinthians 5:19-6:2)
Rather than condemning the people of the world from a distance, with judgmental glares and hypocritical words, let’s love them up close with grace, shining the love, light, and life of Jesus into their dark, dead lives, and telling them the greatest message ever...the good news of God’s grace freely, fully, and forever given to us in Jesus and received simply by faith.
To read my other teachings through Philippians, click below.